Nocturnal Protests, Clashes rock Shopian; 500 Arrested across Kashmir as police seek to end protests

Nocturnal Protests, Clashes rock Shopian; 500 Arrested as police seek to end protestsMassive protests were held in Shopian town of south Kashmir after police and CRPF men allegedly smashed window panes of residential houses and broke their windows. Local sources said that police and CRPF men allegedly started smashing window panes of residential houses in Kannipora and Alyalpora areas of Shopian during last night.

Soon after the incident loudspeakers of mosques went on and people were appealed to “come to the rescue of Kannipora and Alyalpora residents”. The appeal was followed immediately and hundreds of people marched towards the area raising anti-India and pro-freedom slogans.

They pelted stones on police and CRPF men resulting in nocturnal clashes. The law enforcing personnel used hundreds of tear smoke shells against the protesters who occupied town streets throughout the night. Sources said that police and CRPF men had in fact raided some particular houses to arrest some youngsters who according to police are involved in stone pelting however, the attempt was foiled by the people.

In a bid to end street protests, police have launched a massive crackdown against “hooligans and miscreants” in Kashmir and arrested nearly 500 youth from across the Valley. “In its continuous drive against hooligans and miscreants, 349 accused persons have been arrested in the Valley,” a police spokesman said.

The spokesman said 122 persons have been detained under “prohibitory provisions of law”. More than 50 persons have been killed, including two policemen, and nearly 6000 others injured in the ongoing street protests in Kashmir since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani and his two associates on July 8.

Initially, the authorities imposed curfew across the Valley to curb the protests but the strategy failed as more and more people took to the streets. A senior police official said the security agencies are using video footage and photographs to pinpoint the “trouble mongers and instigators” among the protesters.

“We have deployed some personnel in uniform equipped with cameras for recording the incidents of stone pelting and pinpoint those instigating the protests during the analysis of the footage available,” the official said. He said once the accused person is identified, he is arrested “at an appropriate time”.

However, the official admitted that many of the wanted youth are still at large as they are not staying with their families any more. “They keep shifting from one place to another but efforts are on to nab them as soon as possible”.

The modus operandi adopted by the security forces is to conduct nocturnal raids for apprehending the accused persons, a move which has come in for criticism from the separatist camp. The separatists have accused the security forces of “harassing peaceful protesters” under the garb of maintaining law and order.

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